Ask Ken, 08/11/2004

Do you think it’s a good idea for Wizards to let players decide which cards will tournament-legal and easily accessible for the next two years?

Wherever there is injustice, you will find us. Wherever there is suffering, we’ll be there. Wherever liberty is threatened, you’ll find… Ask Ken. I’m your host, Ken Krouner. We got a long one today so I’ll get to it.

Today’s letter is a follow-up question from Christopher Horton. Chris writes:

Hey, thanks for answering my last question from a while back. When I saw it in the column, I realized that I hadn’t phrased it exactly the way I wanted to, but it’s a moot point now.

Now, Wizards has started Ninth Edition voting on their website, and so far, a lot (okay, all) of the cards that were Eighth Edition have won their votes against possible new additions to the Core Set. Disregarding power levels, this would imply that the majority of voters are newer/more casual players who vote for cards that they’re familiar with.

So, my question(s) is this: Do you think it’s a good idea for Wizards to let a few thousand people (out of tens of thousands of players) decide which cards will tournament-legal and easily accessible for the next two years? I mean, remember all the whining about Rewind getting put into Eighth (which is back for Ninth, by the way)? Could you imagine the reaction if Memory Lapse had beaten Mana Leak?

Secondly, should tournament players take these votes more seriously? While admittedly, most of these voters have been more for the casual player, each Blue vote to date seems to concern cards (re: counterspells) that will be used in tournaments for the next few years to come. But from the people I’ve talked to, and the sites I’ve visited, no one really seems too concerned about it. Should they be, judging from reactions the last time around?

Just curious to hear your thoughts,

Christopher Horton

Sorry if I didn’t answer your question before Chris. Let me clear a few things up first. As of the time you wrote this letter your statement was correct, but as you can see things have changed with Rathi Dragon winning its vote. Also you imply there would have been a negative reaction had Memory Lapse beaten Mana Leak. If you recall, Memory Lapse was played quite a bit. In fact, many players mourned the loss of Memory Lapse even in the face of a completely playable counterspell in Mana Leak. The Rewind/Dismiss issue was different. Rewind is borderline unplayable, and Dismiss is awesome.

There are certain votes that I don’t think the tournament community can sway, for instance if a vote involves an Angel or a Dragon that’s pretty much game. However, in general, I think that like in all votes, every voice counts. I can’t speak for local tournament players, but most pros I know would just as soon run over their grandmother with a car as vote for a Magic card. These same pros complain when cards they like are replaced with weaker versions. As the saying goes, if you didn’t vote, you can’t complain.

Do I think it is a good idea for the public to vote on what will be tournament legal? I think it is a great idea. R&D won’t let a format get damaged irreparably and most Constructed formats have a way of balancing themselves out.

The source on rockin’ the vote,


Well that’s all I have for today, but look for a real heavy hitter guest hosting tomorrow’s edition. G’night everybody!

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Did you bullsh** last week? Did you try to bullsh** last week? This is Ask Ken. I’m your faithful host, Kartin’ Ken, and I try to bullsh** every week. Mark Rosewater missed something in his article yesterday. He forgot to mention in the summaries the bursting onto the scene of one Ken Krouner at Worlds 2002. Ah well, just like Rodney, I get no respect. But you all love me, don’t you? I am gonna check on the mail.

Today’s letter comes to us from John Aeder of California. John writes:

Is it”Crooner” or”Crowner”?

Well John, believe it or not it is neither. My name doesn’t strike me as that difficult to pronounce, but I suppose it wouldn’t. The”u” is what gives people trouble. It is actually a silent”u”. Pretend it is spelled”Kroner” like the old money from Denmark. Or better yet”Croner”, since that is how most people spell it when I tell them.

For other American Pros with hard to pronounce names see this article. Names aren’t always easy. The Smiths and Joneses of the world don’t know how good they have it. For instance, Mr. Aeder, I have no idea hoe to pronounce your name. I can hazard some guesses. Ay’-der, or the Latin Eye’-der, perhaps a Southern A-daire’, or a German Ee’-der. The written word is great, but not always easy. The Phoenicians tried, but we American decided to go all crazy with our alleged phonetic alphabet.

I kid the Americans. I kid because I love. Don’t blame us world; we didn’t elect George W. Bush, our forefathers did with their wonderful electoral college. Sure some of us voted for him, but [For the rest of this message, please visit kerryforpresident.com or watch your local political ads. – Knut, still excising the blatant polspeak]

The source on any and all things,


Yesterday’s reference was finally too obscure since as of the time I am writing this no one has guessed, so I lobbed a softball today. You still win if you get it, but it isn’t nearly as tough. Yesterday was from The Doom Generation. Don’t feel bad if you missed it, but see the movie if you are into dark satire. And definitely see the movie if you are into Rose McGowen. G’night Everybody!

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“I love you” can mean a lot of things… like”you’ll do ’til someone better comes along,” or”I can’t describe how I really feel, but I know that I’m supposed to say this,” or”Shut up, I’m watching TV.” This is Ask Ken. I’m your host Ken Krouner, and I love you all. So much in fact, that I am going to head back to my inbox yet again.

Today’s letter comes to us from multiple question writer Jason Choi. Jason writes:

Hi Ken,

I was wondering about your thoughts on Heartseeker in draft. I think it may be one of the most underated cards in draft. Sure it expensive but I think it effect is worthwhile. And with all the mana acceleration out there I think it should be a good 3rd pick. What are your thoughts?

Well Jason, I’m going to be honest with you. I used to hate this card with a passion – it is everything I hate in an equipment card. It is expensive to cast, expensive to equip, and it unattaches when activated. This card is clunky, slow, and only good in stalemates.

That being said, I think the card has gotten a lot better. By and large, the decks have slowed down a lot with the introduction of Fifth Dawn. 5-color Green can utilize this card the best, as it has the most spare mana hanging around and is generally the most prone to stalemates.

I still don’t condone this card in the main deck. It couldn’t be worse against a Black deck or a fast White deck, while even some Blue decks could give it some trouble. But in matchups where you have mana lying around and stalemates seem likely, this is a fine card to have out of the board.

The source on all the ghetto rigged equipment,


Anyone who gets the reference from today’s article will be my personal hero. We’ve got another fun filled week of questions for you so keep tuning in. G’night everybody!

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